How is Wallpaper Made?

How is Wallpaper Made?

Adrienne Breaux
Oct 15, 2010

As a child, we were often fascinated by segments about how things (like crayons, for example) are made. Things must not change much as you get older, because when Nancy Mims of Mod Green Pod offered to share some photos and info about how her wallpaper is made, we jumped on the chance!

It all starts with inspiration, and Nancy seems to be a master at knowing how to find it in everyday places. A daily iPhone photo taker, Nancy snaps shots of all sorts of things in nature and her home each day, and often finds "poetry in lines and curves" in the things surrounding her.

She says of inspiration: "When I start a design, I sort through the images in my photos, art books, or my sketches, and pull out single concepts and lines. Often, I sketch out a composition with pencil on graph paper (even though my designs don't have much to do with the grid lines!) or I paint quick strokes on big sheets of paper with black sumi-e ink. Eventually, I finish the design with lines and vectors on the computer (which is definitely the least sexy part of the process!)."

So how do the designs go from Nancy's drawings to your walls? She gives an overview of the process: "The finished design, in exact repeat, proper scale and separated by color, is printed on vellum paper, then burned onto screens. Each color has its own screen. The hand-screened quality is very evident in our wallpaper, especially when you look at the paper up close. Overall, the paper has a very rich, warm appeal to it, which is often lacking in machine manufactured wallpaper. Once clean, FSC-certified ground paper is rolled onto the clean tables, the screen is locked into the notches set up along the side of the table, and the screener uses a squeegee-type tool to pull the color through the screen. This process is repeated along the length of the paper and once it dries, the second color is applied in the same way."

There you have it! Of course, Nancy uses all low-impact, water-based inks and never any toxic vinyl for her Mod Green Pod wallpapers, so this isn't quite the same method as all wallpapers are made, but we sure enjoyed the visual tour! We also loved her method of inspiration gathering. Is that similar to how you gather inspiration for your own artistic endeavors? Let us know. And thanks to Nancy for a peek inside the wallpaper industry!

(Photos: provided by Nancy Mims)

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